Middle East

Turkish PM's anti-Israel rhetoric "anti-Semitic": Netanyahu

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators set fire to an effigy of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they protest against Israel's military action in Gaza, outside the Israeli consulate in Istanbul, early July 19, 2014. Israel said on Friday it was reducing its diplomatic presence in Turkey after protesters angered by its ground offensive into Gaza pelted its consulate in Istanbul with stones and draped Palestinian flags on the ambassador's residence in Ankara. (REUTERS/Yagiz Karahan)

JERUSALEM: Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's comparison of Israel's offensive in Hamas-controlled Gaza to the Nazis was "anti-Semitic in tone," the Israeli leader said on Sunday.

"I heard the things the prime minister of Turkey said, words of the utmost gravity," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a briefing to reporters. "I told (U.S. Secretary of State) John Kerry, (these are) anti-Semitic statements, they have an anti-Semitic tone."

The Islamist-rooted Erdogan accused Israel on Saturday of having "surpassed Hitler in barbarism through its attacks on the Palestinian territory, but warned Turks against taking out their anger on Jews in the NATO-member state.

Erdogan also accused the United States of defending Israel's "disproportionate" tactics, and bemoaned the failure of the Muslim world to take a stronger stance.

A once-strong partnership between Israel and Turkey, both allies of Washington, has frayed in recent years over Ankara's anger at the Jewish state's Gaza policies.

Israel withdrew some of its diplomats from Turkey last week following earlier censure by Erdogan and sometimes violent protests outside its embassy in the capital and consulate in Istanbul. The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem also advised Israelis against "non-essential" travel to Turkey.





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